7 Healthy Substitutes for Common Dairy Products
By Kerri-Ann Jennings
Dairy foods play a key role in many people's diets.
A number of food products are made from the milk of cows, sheep and goats, including cheese, yogurt, milk, butter and ice cream.
But if you can't or don't want to eat dairy, you can find nondairy alternatives to these and many other dairy foods.
Why You Might Want Substitutes for Dairy
There are several reasons people might be looking for substitutes for dairy. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Milk allergy: 2–3 percent of kids under three have a milk allergy. This can cause a range of symptoms from hives and stomach upset to severe anaphylaxis. Most kids outgrow it by their teenage years (1, 2).
- Lactose intolerance: 75 percent of the world's population doesn't produce enough lactase, the enzyme needed to digest the milk sugar lactose. This causes symptoms including bloating, gas and diarrhea (3, 4, 5).
- Vegan or ovo-vegetarian diet: Some vegetarian diets exclude dairy products. Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs, but no dairy, while vegans exclude all food and products that come from animals (6).
- Potential contaminants: Some people choose to forgo dairy due to a concern over potential contaminants in conventional milk and dairy products, including hormones, pesticides and antibiotics (7, 8, 9).
The good news is there are plenty of substitutes for all the major dairy foods, including the seven below.
1. Milk Substitutes
Milk has many uses, including as a beverage, added to smoothies or poured on cereal.
Nutritionally speaking, milk is rich in protein, carbs and calcium.
In fact, 1 cup (237 ml) of whole milk provides 146 calories, 8 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein and 13 grams of carbs (10).
Plant-based milk alternatives can be made from legumes (soy), cereals (oats, rice), nuts (almond, coconut), seeds (flax, hemp) or other grains (quinoa, teff) (11).
Many of these nondairy milks also have added sugars to enhance their taste, although most brands offer an unsweetened version (13).
Some nondairy milks are sold in the refrigerated section, while others are shelf stable. Below are some of the most common substitutes, along with their basic nutrition info for 1 cup of the "original" versions:
- Soy milk: Contains 109 calories, 5 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein and 8 grams of carbs (14).
- Rice milk: Contains 120 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and 23 grams of carbs (15).
- Oat milk: Contains 130 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein and 24 grams of carbs (16).
- Almond milk: Contains 60 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and 8 grams of carbs (17, 18, 19).
- Coconut milk: Contains 80 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein and 7 grams of carbs (20, 21).
- Cashew milk: Contains 60 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and 9 grams of carbs (22).
- Flaxseed milk: Contains 50 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein and 7 grams of carbs (23).
- Hemp milk: Contains 100–140 calories, 5–7 grams of fat, 2–5 grams of protein and 8–20 grams of carbs (24, 25).
Summary: The nutrient content of nondairy milks varies substantially, although across the board they're lower in fat compared to cow's milk. All but soy milk also have less protein.
2. Yogurt Replacements
Plain yogurt is an especially versatile food.
In addition to being a breakfast and snack food, it can be used in salad dressings, dips and marinades or to accompany meat and roasted vegetable dishes.
One cup (236 ml) of whole-milk yogurt provides 149 calories, 8 grams of fat, 9 grams of protein and 11 grams of carbs (28).
Some types of yogurt, such as Greek yogurt, are higher in protein, while flavored yogurts are generally higher in carbs from added sugar.
As with nondairy milks, substitutes for yogurt are made from nuts, seeds, coconut and soy and are made by adding probiotic bacteria.
Although nutrition content can vary widely based on brand, here's a general comparison of the different nondairy yogurt alternatives. These are all based on 6 ounces of the "plain" flavor.
- Coconut milk yogurt: 180 calories, 14 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and 12 grams of carbs (29).
- Almond milk yogurt: 128 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, 14 grams of carbs and less than 1 gram of fiber (30).
- Soy milk yogurt: 80 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein and 6 grams of carbs (31).
- Hemp yogurt: 147 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbs and 3.4 grams of fiber (32).
Since nutritional composition can vary greatly between brands, be sure to read the label if you're looking for a specific amount of carbs, fat or protein.
Summary: Nondairy yogurts can be made by adding live active cultures to an assortment of plant-based milks. They vary in their content of protein, fat and carbs.
3. Substitutes for Cheese
Dairy cheese tends to fall into two main categories: soft and hard.
It's made by fermenting cow, goat or sheep milk with bacterial cultures, then adding an acid or rennet to the mixture.
This causes the milk proteins to coagulate and form curds. Salt is then added and the curds are shaped, stored and possibly aged.
Nutritionally, dairy cheese generally delivers protein, calcium and fat — plus sodium. Some cheese varieties are higher in sodium than others.
Soft Cheese Substitutes
It's easier to replicate the texture and even the flavor of soft cheese.
You can find soy- and nut-based versions of cream cheese, as well as a dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free versions made from a blend of vegetable oils, tapioca starch and pea protein isolate.
And if you're simply trying to mimic the texture of cottage and ricotta cheeses, then you could use crumbled soft tofu as a replacement.
Hard Cheese Substitutes
It's more challenging to mimic the texture, fat content and taste of hard cheese in nondairy form.
Casein is the milk protein that gives cheese the ability to melt and stretch and food scientists have found it very hard to replicate.
Manufacturers have had to turn to different gums, proteins and fats to try to achieve a similar mouthfeel and melting properties.
Nevertheless, many companies try. Most brands use soy protein or nuts as a base, although there are some soy- and nut-free varieties that are made from vegetable oils mixed with pea starch or pea protein.
Many people find nutritional yeast to be a good flavor substitute for grated Parmesan cheese. As an added bonus, it's a good source of vitamin B12 (33).
You can also make your own version by processing nuts and nutritional yeast with desired spices. Here's a recipe to try.
The nutritional differences between nondairy cheese and regular cheese depend on the substitute.
The protein content is usually lower in the dairy-free alternatives and some brands have up to 8 grams of carbs per ounce (28 grams), whereas dairy cheese rarely has more than 1 gram per ounce.
Processed nondairy cheeses often contain many more ingredients than dairy cheese.
For instance, one brand of nondairy cream cheese uses trans-fat-filled, partially hydrogenated oil and sugar and many other additives, in addition to tofu. These are arguably much worse than regular cream cheese.
However, homemade nut-based cheeses let you swap one whole food for another.
Summary: Vegan cheeses are often highly processed and offer less protein than dairy cheese. However, you can also make homemade substitutions with whole foods like tofu, nuts and nutritional yeast.
4. Alternatives for Butter
Butter is made by churning cream until it hardens.
It lends fat and flavor to food and is often used as a spread on bread, to dress cooked vegetables or meats or as a cooking or baking ingredient.
One tablespoon (14 grams) of butter provides 100 calories, 11 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbs (34).
The many nondairy butter alternatives that currently exist are either made from vegetable oils or coconut.
Some have the same number of calories as cow's milk butter. Others have more protein or carbs than butter, but this isn't true across the board.
Nut and seed butters, such as those made from almond, cashew and sunflower seeds, are also options, depending on what you plan to use the butter substitute for.
Here's how these nondairy butter substitutes stack up nutritionally per tablespoon:
- Vegetable oil blends: 50–100 calories, 6–11 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbs (35, 36, 37).
- Coconut butter: 105–130 calories, 10–14 grams of fat, 0–2 grams of protein and 0–8 grams of carbs (38, 39, 40).
- Cultured vegan butter, made from coconut and cashews: 90 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbs (41).
- Nut butters: 93–101 calories, 8–9 grams of fat, 2–3 grams of protein and 3–4 grams of carbs (42, 43, 44).
Watch out for many vegetable-oil-based margarines on the market that still contain dairy derivatives, such as whey.
You can also make your own dairy-free butters at home. This one uses a blend of coconut oil, liquid oils and nondairy milk.
Summary: There are several plant-based butter alternatives and the calories and fat tend to be similar to that of dairy butter.
5. Cream Substitutes
Cream is the higher-fat top layer of separated fresh milk.
It can be between 10 percent to more than 40 percent fat, depending on the type of cream being created: half-and-half, light cream, whipped cream or heavy cream.
In the kitchen, cream is used as a topping for sweet or savory dishes or as an ingredient in sauces, soups, puddings, custards and even cakes.
Light cream and half-and-half are commonly added to coffee or other beverages.
A tablespoon (15 ml) of heavy cream contains 52 calories, 5.6 grams of fat and less than half a gram each of carbs and protein (45).
There are many nondairy alternatives to heavy cream and whipping cream, as well as to coffee creamers.
Many nondairy alternatives to cream are made with coconut milk, especially homemade versions.
But similar to dairy-free cheeses and yogurts, some varieties are made with soy, cashews and other nuts or a blend of vegetable oils.
In general, nondairy creams are lower in calories and fat than the dairy versions. Like dairy cream, most vegan versions have no protein, but a few versions have carbs.
Some dairy-free alternatives are highly processed and may contain undesirable ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fat.
So it may be worth trying the homemade substitutes that are made from whole foods, such as this one made from almonds.
Summary: Coconut milk and cream are versatile substitutes for dairy-based creams. There are also soy-, nut- and vegetable-oil-based substitutes, but watch out for unwanted ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils.
6. Replacements for Sour Cream
Sour cream is made by fermenting milk with bacteria.
It's used as a topping, a base for dips and as a moisture-providing ingredient in baked goods.
An ounce (28 grams) of regular sour cream has 54 calories, 1 gram of carbs, 5.5 grams of fat and 0.6 grams of protein (46).
Nondairy alternatives on the market are generally soy-based, but there's at least one soy-free brand out there that's made from a blend of beans, oils and gums.
Some of the alternatives have similar amounts of fat and calories. Others are lighter across the board, with less fat and calories.
As with many of the other substitutes, you can make your own nondairy sour cream using cashews, sunflower seeds or tofu.
Plain nondairy yogurt is also an easy substitute.
Summary: There are several soy-based sour creams on the market. Plain nondairy yogurt is also a good substitute in most recipes.
7. Substitutes for Ice Cream
A roundup of alternatives to common dairy foods wouldn't be complete without ice cream.
Interestingly, there are several nondairy ice cream options, including:
- Creamy ice creams made from nondairy milks, including coconut milk and soy milk.
- Sorbets, which never have dairy in them anyway. Don't confuse these with sherbets, which often have dairy in them.
- Homemade ice-cream-like desserts made from blending frozen bananas with other flavorings or berries.
Many of the creamy nondairy desserts are dead ringers for dairy ice cream, delivering the same decadence and creamy mouthfeel.
But since some of them are made from plant-based milks, rather than dairy cream and milk, they are often lower in calories and fat. This isn't true across the board, so make sure to keep an eye on nutrition labels.
The most common kinds on the market are made from soy, almond or coconut milks. You can also find cashew, rice and even avocado ice cream.
Summary: There are many nondairy replacements for ice cream, including creamy ones made from nondairy milk and fruit-based sorbets.
What to Watch out For
With so many nondairy substitutes around, you should be able to find replacements for any nondairy food you need.
However, there are a few things to watch out for:
- Added sugars: Many nondairy products contain added sugars to enhance flavor and texture. While the sugar content is sometimes similar to that of regular dairy products, other times it can be much higher.
- Fillers: It is common for nondairy cheeses and yogurts to use a variety of additives in order to improve the texture of the product. While they aren't necessarily unhealthy, many people prefer more natural products.
- Protein content: Dairy cheeses, milk and yogurt deliver complete protein. However, the only plant-based replacement that mimics that level and quality of protein is soy (47).
- Nutrient content: Dairy products deliver potassium and calcium. Fortified nondairy products may also offer these and other micronutrients, depending on the brand. Homemade products won't be fortified.
- Intolerances: Some people have allergies or intolerances to certain ingredients used in nondairy replacements, such as soy or nuts. Fillers, such as inulin, can also be difficult for people to digest, causing gassiness (48).
- Price differences: Sad to say, nondairy alternatives often come with a higher price tag. On the other hand, this could be an incentive to make your own nondairy substitutes.
To make sure you get what you're looking for, read labels to see what ingredients and nutrients are in the product you're buying.
Summary: There can be a few drawbacks to nondairy substitutes, including potentially longer ingredient lists and differences in nutrient composition.
The Bottom Line
There are many options for substituting common dairy foods.
You can make homemade versions of cheese, ice cream, sour cream and more. You can also find them at the grocery store.
Most are made from plant-based ingredients, such as soy, nuts or coconut.
They're not necessarily direct substitutes nutritionally, though, so make sure you read the labels.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester introduced legislation on Tuesday to protect more than 30,000 acres of public land bordering Yellowstone National Park. These public lands in Montana's Park County are the targets of two industrial scale gold mine proposals, which would threaten the national park, the clean water of the Yellowstone River, wildlife and the local economy. The legislation does not affect any recreational use of the land, including hunting or fishing.
Sen. Tester's legislation followed actions made in the fall of 2016, when U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture began a two-year time-out on gold exploration and mining, on the public land near Yellowstone National Park.
"The people in Park County are standing together and saying industrial gold mining doesn't make sense on the doorsteps of Yellowstone. Our river, our wild lands and our wildlife are too valuable to gamble," said Michelle Uberuaga, executive director of the Park County Environmental Council.
"Our local elected officials and the county commission are standing with us and we're grateful to have Sen. Tester's leadership in Washington, DC. Now we need to see this to the finish line," she added.
More than 300 local businesses of the bipartisan Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition asked for the action, citing risks to their livelihoods and to the strong regional economy. The local calls for action were echoed on a national level, for the potential impacts to the world's first national park and surrounding wildlife habitat, as well the Yellowstone River and its world-famous fishery.
"National Parks Conservation Association applauds Sen. Tester for taking the next step in opposing industrial gold mines next to Yellowstone," commented Stephanie Adams, Yellowstone program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association.
"Concerns over the threats to Yellowstone and its nearby communities and waterways have been echoed by Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Sen. Steve Daines. It is time for our elected officials at all levels to stand together in forever protecting these priceless lands."
Sen. Tester's legislation protects private property rights while enacting a permanent withdrawal on the public lands.
"Legislation is needed to permanently prevent private corporations from industrializing public lands in the heart of the Yellowstone ecosystem," said Jenny Harbine, attorney for Earthjustice.
"The introduction of legislation is a crucial first step and now we must all fight for Congressional approval of this critical protection for some of our nation's most-prized wild lands."
Mayors from across the nation joined with the Sierra Club's Ready for 100 campaign Wednesday to announce a new effort to engage and recruit mayors to endorse a goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy.
Ahead of the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting in Miami Beach in June, the launch of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy aims to demonstrate bold local leadership and showcase the depth and breadth of support from city leaders for a transition to 100 percent renewable energy.
The new initiative is co-chaired by Mayor Philip Levine of Miami Beach, Mayor Jackie Biskupski of Salt Lake City, Mayor Kevin Faulconer of San Diego and Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina. Benjamin is also a vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
"We have already taken steps to expand renewable energy and we will continue to improve our infrastructure and innovate clean energy solutions for a stronger Miami Beach," said Mayor Levine. "Climate change may be the challenge of our generation, but it is also the opportunity of a lifetime. The transition to clean and renewable energy will both help Miami Beach confront climate change and strengthen our local economy."
Mayor Biskupski noted that cities contribute about 75 percent of human greenhouse gas emissions, and said Salt Lake City is warming at a rate twice as fast as the global average.
"We can't ignore climate change because climate change is not ignoring us," she said. "Among many other risks, we face water shortages, decreased snowpack and threats to our $1 billion ski industry. Cities must adapt to cope with these threats, and that's also why we must take action to mitigate them."
Noting that San Diego has become a leading city for solar energy capacity, Mayor Faulconer said that business and environmental groups are cooperating to achieve a mutually beneficial goal of 100 percent renewable energy.
"Clean energy isn't just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do," he emphasized. "We're going green not only because it supports clean air and water, but because it supports our 21st century economy."
Mayoral leadership has been a powerful driver of city-wide action on climate change and clean energy in municipalities across the country. The Mayors National Climate Action Agenda (Climate Mayors) founded by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, former Houston Mayor Annise Parker and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, recently released an electric vehicle request for information to demonstrate demand to automakers for nearly 115,00 vehicles that could be electrified in 30 cities.
Now the co-chairs of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, a number of whom are Climate Mayors, are further demonstrating their commitment to lead nationally on the shared challenge of reducing climate pollution and contributing to Climate Mayors' framework of local leadership and action.
"Mayors can lead our nation toward a healthier, stronger and more prosperous country by championing a vision of 100 percent clean, renewable energy in their communities," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. "Cities don't need to wait for Washington, DC to act in order to move the ball forward on clean energy."
Twenty-six cities across the U.S. have now committed to transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. This growing list of cities most recently includes South Lake Tahoe, California, which last week unanimously voted to transition entirely to renewable energy by 2032. Other big cities including Los Angeles and Denver are studying pathways to 100 percent clean energy. Earlier this month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a commitment to transition Chicago municipal buildings and operations to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2025.
Despite the numerous controversies and vocal opposition swirling around President Donald Trump's pick to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Senators voted 52 to 46, largely along party lines, in February to confirm Oklahoma Republican Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator.
It now appears that Koch Industries—the oil and gas conglomerate owned by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch—directly lobbied Congress to confirm Pruitt and spent millions to influence anti-environmental initiatives, a disclosure report shows.
As The Intercept reported:
"The firm's latest disclosure form reports that its in-house corporate lobbying team spent $3.1 million to influence lawmakers over the first three months of the year on a variety of issues affecting its bottom line, including the EPA's Clean Power Rule on carbon emissions, carbon pricing, the Clean Air Act and 'nominations for various positions at the Department of Energy.'"
"This is exactly what we mean when we talk about oligarchy. Multi-billionaires and corporations should not have the power to pick and choose who is in charge of our federal agencies," Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said in response to The Intercept's report. "But that is exactly what happened—Koch Industries spent millions on lobbying Congress to confirm Scott Pruitt, our head of the Environmental Protection Agency who doesn't believe in environmental protection."
Koch Industries has contributed $38.5 million to federal candidates over the last 25 years and spent another $117 million since 1998 on lobbying. DeSmog reported in February that the company's deep pockets are contributing campaign funds to four GOP representatives who have introduced legislation to completely abolish the EPA.
"It's clear that Trump doesn't represent working families. His agenda benefits the Koch brothers and their billionaire [friends]. Our job is to stand together to defeat the drift toward oligarchy and create a vibrant democracy—not one controlled by corporate interests," Sanders said.
Pruitt has reported ties to the fossil fuel industry and he repeatedly sued the EPA when he was Oklahoma Attorney General. In 2014, he was caught sending letters on state government letterheads to President Obama and federal agency heads asserting that the EPA was overestimating the air pollution from drilling for natural gas in Oklahoma. As it turns out, the letter was written by lawyers for one of the state's largest oil and gas companies, Devon Energy.
Following Trump's executive order, Pruitt plans to kill the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era regulation designed to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. Pruitt also challenged the plan when he was Oklahoma AG.
Pruitt said in March that he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to climate change.
The Intercept also detailed how Pruitt's nomination as EPA head was strongly backed by industry groups:
"The American Energy Alliance, an advocacy group founded by former Koch Industries lobbyist Tom Pyle, issued a letter in support of Pruitt along with other Koch-backed conservative nonprofits. America Rising Squared, a political research outfit that has harassed environmental activists, formed a special website—now deleted—to respond to criticism of Pruitt's record."
Enbridge Energy Partners' aging Line 5 pipeline, which runs through the heart of the Great Lakes, has spilled more than 1 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids in at least 29 incidents since 1968, according to data from the federal Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration obtained by the National Wildlife Federation.
Built in 1953, the 645-mile, 30-inch-diameter pipeline carries petroleum to eastern Canada via the Great Lakes states. As it travels under the Straits of Mackinac, a narrow waterway that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, Line 5 splits into twin 20-inch-diameter, parallel pipelines.
Line 5 opponents fear that a spill in the Great Lakes, which contains 21 percent of the world's surface fresh water, would be an ecological disaster. Notably, the straits' strong currents reverse direction every few days and a spill would quickly contaminate shoreline communities miles away.
Enbridge is behind a number of major spills, most notoriously in 2010 when an Enbridge line spilled more than 800,000 gallons into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan—creating the biggest inland oil spill in U.S. history.
"We have a pipeline system with a history of problems running through our country's largest source of surface freshwater, and it happens to be operated by the company responsible for one of the largest inland oil spills in North America," said Mike Shriberg, executive director for the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center.
"This pipeline system places the Great Lakes and many local communities at an unacceptable risk. The state of Michigan needs to find an alternative to this risky pipeline to protect our drinking water, health, jobs and way of life."
The National Wildlife Federation has released a new interactive map showing what has spilled from Enbridge's pipeline system, the repair methods that have been used, and how leaks and defects are being discovered.
The conservation organization noticed from the records that only one of the 29 recorded incidents was detected by a remote pipeline detection system. By contrast, 15 releases were detected by local personnel or the public.
"This new information causes us grave concern about the integrity of the inland pipe system, inconsistencies with spill reporting, and the effectiveness of leak detection systems, repair methods, and long-term planning for the integrity of the decades-old pipeline system," said Beth Wallace, the National Wildlife Federation pipeline safety specialist who discovered the newly released data.
Wallace added, "a significant number of these releases note manufacturing and construction defects, as well as weld failure, which calls into question the overall integrity of the Line 5 system."
Last September, Enbridge filed a work plan with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identifying 18 "holidays" on Line 5—an oil and gas industry term that refers to areas on a pipeline where anti-corrosive coating is missing. However, Enbridge's director of integrity programs Kurt Baraniecki said at a Pipeline Safety Advisory Board meeting last month that the report used imprecise language.
Enbridge has dismissed the National Wildlife Federation's findings.
"This is not new information and we have addressed this issue many times in the past," company spokesperson Ryan Duffy said via email to MLive. "Over the past fifteen years, there have been three incidents on Line 5 that have resulted in a total of approximately 21 barrels of product being released off the mainline. All of the product released during these three incidents was recovered. There has never been an incident on Line 5 at the Straits."
Still, as InsideClimate News reported, Line 5 is facing mounting political pressure. In January, the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians in northern Wisconsin voted not to renew easements that allowed the pipeline to pass through tribal lands. Also in January, U.S. Reps. Dave Trott (R-Mich) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich) introduced legislation calling for a shutdown of the pipeline if a federal study determines it poses significant threat to the Great Lakes.
Enbridge is not the only pipeline company facing opposition over fears of contamination. On Tuesday, a coalition of more than two dozen organizations launched a new campaign to challenge Energy Transfer Partners' (ETP) operations.
Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners is the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline and the under-construction Rover Pipeline, which just spilled 2 million of gallons of drilling fluids into two of Ohio's wetlands on April 22.
ETP is expected to vote to merge with Sunoco Logistics on Wednesday.
"Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics have a damning history of pipeline fires, leaks, and spills, causing millions of dollars in property damage and leaving thousands of gallons of hazardous products in the environment," said Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance, one of the participating organizations. "These incidents demonstrate a blatant disregard for the communities and waterways impacted by these pipelines."
Lena Moffitt, director of Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, said momentum has been building across the nation.
"From Standing Rock, to Texas, to Ohio, to towns across the country, people are mobilizing against Energy Transfer Partners and its reckless agenda that has threatened our communities, our clean air and water, and our climate," Moffitt said. "We the people are organized, we are determined, and together, we will stop Energy Transfer Partners' dirty and dangerous plans."
Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting National Monuments, Could Open Up Lands for Oil and Gas Development
The review enables the Department of Interior to examine whether any of the monument designations have led to a "loss of jobs, reduced wages and reduced public access."
"The Antiquities Act does not give the federal government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water," President Donald Trump said during a brief ceremony today flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Sec. of the Interior Ryan Zinke. He added that it was "time to end this abusive practice."
The 1.35-million acre Bears Ears National Monument in Utah is one of the first targets for review. The monument was created by President Obama last year and has sparked major controversy between Republican lawmakers and conservationists. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah's congressional delegation led by Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz and Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee have launched a campaign to abolish national monument. More than 270 million acres of American land and waters are potentially at risk—an area two and a half times the size of California.
GOP lawmakers have accused President Obama, who designated more monuments than any other president, of abusing the Antiquities Act to protect land from fossil fuel development.
"By potentially rolling back safeguards for lands and waters that are currently protected from destructive development for generations to come, Trump is carving up this beautiful country into as many corporate giveaways for the oil and gas industry as possible," said Diana Best of Greenpeace USA. "People in this country who cannot afford the membership fee at Mar-a-Lago want safe water they can drink and public lands for their communities to enjoy."
National monument designations have protected some of the most iconic places in the country. Dozens of the nation's most treasured national parks were first protected as monuments, including Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Acadia and Olympic national parks, explained the Center for Biological Diversity.
Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, emphasized that the NRDC will fight the review, and said the president is not authorized to reverse monument designations.
"These public lands belong to all of us," she said. "The U.S. holds them in trust for the benefit of this and future generations. These monuments have been deemed worthy of permanent conservation because of their unique resources and wildlife, ecological importance, and vulnerability to encroachment and destruction. President Trump and Secretary Zinke should not strip away their protection and subject them to industrial exploitation by polluters or other corporate interests."
The Center for Biological Diversity noted that more than 50 national monuments are at risk, including vast marine areas in the Pacific and Caribbean. Congress gave the president the authority to designate national monuments on federally owned land under the Antiquities Act of 1906, which was signed into law by President Teddy Roosevelt, for the express purpose of protecting important objects of historic and scientific importance.
"This is a frightening step toward dismantling the protection of some of America's most important and iconic places: our national parks and monuments," said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. "Trump's tapping into the right-wing, anti-public-lands zealotry that will take us down a very dangerous path—a place where Americans no longer have control over public lands and corporations are left to mine, frack, clear-cut and bulldoze them into oblivion. It starts with Bears Ears and Grand Staircase and only gets worse from there."
National monuments are cherished by Americans for their natural beauty and cultural significance.
"There is no need for a review to demonstrate what families across the country already know first-hand—national monuments provide tangible health, natural, and economic benefits," said Michael Brune, Sierra Club executive director. "Protected outdoor spaces drive the outdoor recreation economy which supports 7.6 million jobs and generates $887 billion in consumer spending each year. National monuments and public lands are vital both for the history they preserve and the future they offer.
"Contrary to the Trump administration's thinly veiled hopes," he added, "this review will reveal what studies, surveys and polls have consistently found across the country—a deep, widespread appreciation for our parks, monuments and other public lands, and a popular belief that they should continue to exist."
As thousands of people across the country and in Washington, DC are expected to join the People's Climate March on Saturday, indigenous leaders and climate activists will, as 350.org Executive Director May Boeve points out, "now have to defend our parks and monuments from Big Oil as well."
Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, put it this way. "This is another Trump action that is another act of aggression against the inherent sovereign rights of our Native Nations to protect the traditional cultural areas and sacred places of American Indian and Alaska Native people," he said.
"There are many areas in this country, outside of our reserved lands that are of vital importance to our Indigenous peoples' identity and rich cultural and spiritual history. The 1906 Antiquities Act cannot be stripped on its important historical mandates to designate national monuments to protect areas that have cultural, historical and environmental significance. The act is paramount to all the tribes in this country; for our cultural preservation now and into the future. The frontline Indigenous communities in our network see Trump's actions as a way to open up fossil fuel and extractive mineral development within these national monuments designated under the 1906 Antiquities Act. Trump's action must be stopped."
Companies are also outraged at Trump's latest executive order. "Less than 24 hours after joining with our industry to celebrate the economic power of outdoor recreation, in a hypocritical move, the Trump administration took unprecedented steps that could result in the removal of protections for treasured public lands," Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario said.
"We take this as a sign that Trump and his team prefer to cater to fossil fuel interests and state land grabs for unsustainable development, rather than preserve a vital part of our nation's heritage for future generations by protecting federal lands owned by every citizen."
A study released Wednesday found that, if built, the controversial PennEast Pipeline for fracked gas could contribute as much greenhouse gas pollution as 14 coal-fired power plants or 10 million passenger vehicles—some 49 million metric tons per year.
The analysis, conducted by Oil Change International, showed that federal regulators are poised to rubber-stamp the PennEast Pipeline based on a woefully inadequate climate review that ignores the significant impact of methane leaks and wrongly assumes that gas supplied by the project will replace coal.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is facing a growing backlash across the country over its routine approval of gas pipeline projects that endanger communities and the climate. Today's study comes on the heels of a federal court hearing in which a judge slammed FERC's shallow and dismissive review of the climate impact of the Sabal Trail gas pipeline in the Southeast.
The new analysis counters FERC's final environmental impact statement for the PennEast project released in early April. It applies a methodology recently developed by Oil Change International to calculate the climate impact of gas pipelines from the Appalachian Basin. In contrast to FERC, the Oil Change methodology reflects the evolving analysis of methane leakage and the full lifecycle of pollution that pipelines cause from fracking well to smokestack.
"Our analysis shows that the PennEast Pipeline would cause a massive increase in climate pollution," said Lorne Stockman, lead author of the study and Oil Change International senior research analyst. "The only way FERC can conclude otherwise is by ignoring both science and economics. The PennEast pipeline is not needed, communities don't want it and it will deepen reliance on fossil fuels that we can't afford to burn."
The PennEast Pipeline, backed by a consortium of gas companies, would run roughly 120 miles from northeastern Pennsylvania to Mercer County, New Jersey, carrying up to 1.1 billion cubic feet of gas per day. The New Jersey Rate Counsel has concluded that New Jersey consumers do not need the gas. The project is facing stiff opposition from landowners and community and environmental groups along its route.
The Oil Change analysis found that the pipeline would be responsible for over 49 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by adding up the pollution from gas extraction and processing, pipeline operation, gas combustion at power plants and methane leaked across the gas supply chain.
The study found three major faults in FERC's review:
• FERC fails to acknowledge that methane leakage makes gas as dirty or dirtier than coal, wiping out any potential benefits of switching from coal to gas;
• FERC ignores the market reality that new gas production is likely to compete directly with clean energy and energy efficiency, especially in New Jersey, which has already phased out coal-fired generation;
• FERC fails to count upstream emissions from fracking operations.
Advocates from the region reacted to the study with concern and reiterated their commitment to stopping the pipeline, which has yet to receive key permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Delaware River Basin Commission:
"It is unseemly that the public and nonprofit organizations are having to invest time and money in doing the work FERC should be undertaking," said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper. "This report demonstrates, yet again, that the PennEast pipeline will help push our nation and world over the climate change cliff. FERC is not only legally required to do the kind of analysis included in this report, but is morally responsible."
Tom Gilbert, campaign director for Rethink Energy NJ and NJ Conservation Foundation, agreed. "It cannot be ignored that New Jersey's greenhouse gas emissions are going up, not down, driven by increased emissions from gas-fired electric plants," he said.
"This report shows that the PennEast pipeline would only further move the state in the wrong direction by increasing carbon emissions and methane leaks, putting public health and safety at risk."
By Graham Readfearn
The New York Times has been defending the paper's hiring of a climate science denier, fighting off its critics with what it claims is a standard fashioned from hardened "intellectual honesty."
While at the Wall Street Journal, Stephens consistently undermined and disparaged climate change, one time describing it as an "imaginary enemy" and another comparing it to religion with a "doomsaying prophecy and faith in things unseen."
Stephens' new boss, editorial page editor James Bennett, told the paper's public editor Liz Spayd: "The crux of the question is whether his work belongs inside our boundaries for intelligent debate and I have no doubt that it does. I have no doubt he crosses our bar for intellectual honesty and fairness."
Suffice to say, there are plenty who disagree. One climate scientist has already canceled his subscription in protest, with others watching closely.
No doubt that Stephens can write—he won a Pulitzer in 2012 for lots of opinions on stuff other than climate.
But like other conservative columnists admired for their poetic prose and strident opinions while attacking climate change, the methods used by Stephens might be compared to those of a fake chef producing a lumpy and unsatisfying word soup.
There's no real care with the preparation and no quality control over the freshness or blending of the ingredients, but these indiscretions are suitably masked with enough flavor-enhancers to give some short-term satisfaction to unsuspecting diners/readers.
But the New York Times should probably be serving up something far more substantial than crap soup and three-day-old bread to its massive audience.
Stephens wrote that a trend in rising global temperatures was "imperceptible" and that the "hysteria" around climate change ignored how this trend could be "a product of natural variation."
There is a mountain of evidence that global warming is not caused by "natural fluctuations" and this evidence has been in existence for decades. To suggest that it isn't, would be to fall below any bar of intellectual honesty erected in the newsroom of the New York Times or in any science academy around the globe.
In the same column, Stephens chose to highlight "the hyping of flimsy studies—melting Himalayan glaciers; vanishing polar ice" that he said were being used to push a political viewpoint.
Stephens was referring to an error on Himalayan glaciers buried away in a UN report, while choosing to ignore the decades-long trend of melting that has been recorded at glaciers all over the planet.
Stephens himself has told Huffington Post that he's an "agnostic" on climate change and said while it "seems" the weight of scientific evidence points to human causes for global warming, that evidence might be wrong because "the history of science is replete with consensus positions that have evolved."
Now, the New York Times' own defense of its hiring of Stephens is almost as redundant as the arguments that Stephens borrows from climate science deniers.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, the New York Time's Bennett said there was "more than one kind of denial."
"And to pretend like the views of a thinker like Bret and the millions of people who agree with him on a range of issues, should simply be ignored, that they're outside the bounds of reasonable debate, is a really dangerous form of delusion," he said.
Let's think about what the New York Times opinion page might look like if we based it on the beliefs of millions of Americans.
According to Gallup polling data, some 20 percent of Americans believe in witches, which is roughly half the number of people who think extrasensory perception is actually a thing.
A poll conducted by Harris in 2016 found that two out of five Americans think ghosts are real. Belief in evolution? That's at 49 percent. Creationism? Some 37 percent are down with that.
Lizard people controlling societies? One in 25 Americans fear their presence, but where's their representation in the New York Times editorials?
Arguing that someone should be hired to the editorial desk of one of the world's most influential newspapers because "millions of people" hold a particular belief is a clear path to supporting the sort of delusional thinking that has more Americans believing in the paranormal than accepting that climate change is mostly human-caused.
That 1970s Cooling Myth
Opinions are worth printing when they're based on the preponderance of credible evidence, not the self-interests of fossil fuel–funded "fellows" at so-called think tanks or the whimsy of attention-seeking contrarians.
In an August 2011 interview on Fox News Business, Stephens told viewers "in the 1970s we were supposed to believe in global cooling."
Were we? Well, if you want to base your intellectually robust opinion on a moldy-old myth based on a couple of 1970s news items, then fine.
Alternatively, read a 2008 review of science papers published between 1965 and 1979 finding that only seven papers were predicting cooling against 44 saying temperatures would rise.
Also in that interview, Stephens lauded an essay by the late author Michael Crichton that attacked the consensus on global warming.
In that essay, based on a lecture, Crichton said: "Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had."
So let's just stop a second and think about what Crichton was advocating here.
The consensus of medical science says smoking will massively increase your risk of getting cancer and heart disease, even if you can't say exactly which cigarette killed your wheezy relative. You're being had, folks.
Crichton was putting up a straw man argument—that science is done by consensus—in order to then attack it.
When people talk about a consensus on the causes of climate change, they're describing the collective findings of thousands of peer-reviewed articles published in leading scientific journals over decades using multiple methods from a diverse set of observations.
The consensus that climate change is caused by humans comes from the long-studied physical properties of greenhouse gases to the measurements of warming oceans, the atmosphere and the places on the planet where there is or was, ice.
Don't get me wrong here, folks. You're free to choose a glib sound bite from a science fiction writer based on a misrepresentation of the concept of scientific consensus.
But take care not to be had by charlatans promising to chat to your very dead Aunty Betty or save your soul from the claws of the lizard people.
I think it might be time someone broke into the editorial office of the New York Times and raised that bar of intellectual honesty.
Reposted with permission from our media associate DeSmogBlog.